HomeNewsGrand National meeting: Constitution Hill & Shishkin triumph at Aintree

Grand National meeting: Constitution Hill & Shishkin triumph at Aintree

Nico de Boinville and Constitution Hill jump one of the Aintree hurdles
Constitution Hill has won seven races out of seven under rules

Constitution Hill claimed a comfortable win in the Aintree Hurdle on the opening day of the Grand National meeting.

The Champion Hurdle victor, who went off as 2-15 favourite, led from start to finish and was never challenged.

It was a seventh win out of seven under rules for the stellar six-year-old.

Earlier, Shishkin, also trained by Nicky Henderson and ridden by Nico de Boinville, swooped late to win the Aintree Bowl.

Constitution Hill has been one of the stars of the season with wins in the Fighting Fifth at Newcastle and the Christmas Hurdle, while his Cheltenham win saw him hailed as “the horse of a generation”.

De Boinville had his charge well in front at the Liverpool track and, although his rivals closed the gap somewhat by the home turn, the jockey was easily able to push the unbeaten gelding to a three-length win.

Sharjah came through late to beat Zanahiyr to the runner-up spot, with last year’s winner Epatante, another Henderson charge, in fourth.

All eyes will be on what path Constitution Hill takes next season, with Henderson set to give him a schooling session over fences in the coming weeks before a decision is made.

“It couldn’t be more straightforward,” Henderson told ITV Racing. “He was in second gear all the way.

“His versatility is incredible. You can do anything with him. We knew he would have to make the pace so we just said to keep it simple.

“We’ll talk about what happens next. We have all sorts of options.”

It was the second part of a notable Henderson double after Shishkin’s success.

The nine-year-old had finished second behind Envoi Allen at Cheltenham, but looked out of sorts that day on the back of the diagnosis of a bone condition after the 2022 festival and a disappointing start to this campaign.

Henderson and team have worked hard to iron out the problems and Shishkin looked more lively in his first race over three miles and one furlong.

Although Ahoy Senor came to the last in front, Shishkin jumped it better and had the momentum, getting his head in front to win by a length and a half.

In the Foxhunters’ Open Hunters’ Chase, the race run over the Grand National fences and confined to amateur riders, Famous Clermont provided top amateur Will Biddick with his first victory.

“I’ve been around for 20 seasons now,” he said. “I’ve had a few seconds and I’ve been knocking on the door.

“It’s a big thing for the amateurs to win this race – here and Cheltenham are our Gold Cups. To do it is massive.”

However, there was sad news from the race as Envoye Special suffered a fatal injury.

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